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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Tasting: Eight German Beers

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head to where the Reinheitsgebot is still enforced.

Plenty has changed since the Reinheitsgebot -- known by many as the German Beer Purity Law -- was first adopted in the Duchy of Bavaria in 1516. However, you can still count on German brewers to turn out some of the best made beers in the world. Much of what Americans know about German beer is shaped by straight forward lagers like Becks and St. Pauli Girl. While German brewers stick to a relatively narrow band of styles when compared say to their neighbors in Belgium or American craft brewers, there are some interesting German brews available that do get creative.

I spent most of my beer drinking time this past week sampling German beers. A couple were draught beers at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte. The bottled beers were enjoyed during the monthly beer and wine group in our neighborhood -- the Society of Overlook Beverage Sippers (S.O.B.S.) -- where the theme was Oregon wines and German beers.

Here's a small beer tour from the land east of the Rhine:

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier: If you have never had a smoked beer before, this classic from Bamberg is a great place to start. Germans call smoked beer "Rauchbier" and it is a traditional style of Bamberg. Schlenkerla brewery originates in the middle of Bamberg's old town, directly underneath the Bamberg Cathedral. The beer is indeed a heavenly treat. The smoke flavor has characteristics similar to a well made Scotch. The flavor is distinct, yet not over powering. This beer would work well with a gourmet meat and cheese platter or with some chopped pork barbecue.

Erdinger Hefe-Weizen: The Erdinger website says this beer comes 'with fine yeast' that results in a traditional bottle-fermented brew that takes about a month to mature. The bottle we enjoyed tasted crisp, had some slight citrus notes and a firm head.

Kulbacher Monchshof Shwarz: This is a traditional dark lager. Very nice malt flavors with a hint of roasted grain. A lively dark brew from the moment it hits the glass, it is refreshing and satisfying.

Maisel’s Weisse: Made in Bayreuth, a city in Bavaria, this brew is slightly cloudy and an off gold color. There were nice fruit in the nose, with bananas and a tart flavor profile. Very refreshing for a hot North Carolina evening.

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen: (Draught) Unfiltered and a golden cloudy color. There are good hits of traditional banana and clove flavor notes. Very refreshing. Perfect for a 90 degree day.

Reissdorf Kolsch: This is a golden, effervescent brew from Cologne, the home of Kolsch. Very little malt signs, but some pleasant hops. Soft and smooth.

Spaten Franziskaner Dunkel Hefe Weisse: This is a dark, unfiltered wheat beer from Munich. A fairly light bodied dark beer with some good flavor notes. A bit more malty than other wheat brews enjoyed during this tasting.

Spaten Franziskaner Hefe Weisse: (Draught) The brew was an inviting cloudy, golden color. Fairly dry for a German beer with nice citrus notes. Refreshing.

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